Bone cancer is a rare form of cancer that can develop in the bones of the face or skull.
Bone cancer may be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer starts in the bones and accounts for less than
Primary and secondary bone cancer can both develop in the bones of the face or skull, though in children and teens, they
This article reviews bone cancer in the face and skull, its causes and risk factors, symptoms, treatments, and more.
Bone cancer can develop in the bones of the skull, but it
For some, the first symptom may be the presence of a lump, a mass, or swelling in the area. When this occurs, a person may develop visible deformity in the affected part of the face.
Typically, tumors that form in the face
Researchers do not yet know exactly what causes primary bone cancers. Experts
While these mutations may pass from a parent to a child, they are more likely to occur during the course of a person’s life either spontaneously (with no underlying cause) or due to exposure to certain stimuli, such as radiation.
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chances of developing bone cancer in the face or other bones.
Having one or more risk factors does not mean a person will develop bone cancer, but it does mean they have a higher risk compared with those who do not share the same risk factors.
Similarly, a person may develop bone cancer despite having no known risk factors.
- having previous radiation exposure
- being of advanced or older age
- being male
- having noncancerous bone conditions, such as Paget disease or fibrous dysplasia
- living with hereditary multiple osteochondromas
- having inherited conditions such as Rothmund-Thomson syndrome or retinoblastoma
Bone cancer may not cause symptoms.
Another common symptom is the development of a lump or mass, which a person may feel or see under the skin. Swelling may occur around the lump. This can lead to further deformity of the face.
Other possible symptoms may include:
- weakened bones leading to fractures
- weight loss
Symptoms may also develop differently based on whether the cancer spreads to other areas in the body, such as the lungs.
Since bone cancer is rare, it is much more likely that a person’s symptoms are due to other, benign conditions.
Diagnosis may begin when a person visits a doctor due to their symptoms, which may include pain or a noticeable lump.
A doctor typically uses several diagnostic tools to determine whether a person’s symptoms are due to bone cancer or another underlying cause. Some common ways a doctor will check for bone cancer
- reviewing personal and family medical history
- performing imaging tests of the affected area, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI
- performing a biopsy, which involves examining a small sample of an affected area of bone
- doing blood tests, which can help a doctor stage the cancer
Treatments for bone cancer in the face or other areas of the body can vary and include both surgical and nonsurgical options.
Surgical treatments for cancers that occur in the limbs may involve removing the affected limb to get rid of the cancer.
On the face, this may not be possible, but a doctor may be able to cut away the tumor. A doctor will remove the tumor and some healthy tissue and then replace the missing section with bone tissue from elsewhere. This tissue may come from a donor or another area of the body, or a doctor may use prosthetic bone to reform the facial structure. Today, doctors are able to use 3D modeling to create a prosthesis that exactly matches the shape of the excised bone.
A doctor may also recommend the use of radiation or chemotherapy to help destroy the tumor.
The 5-year relative survival rate for bone cancer is about
It is important to remember that no two cases of cancer are the same. An individual can speak with their doctor about their unique circumstances.
Several factors can affect survivability, such as age, stage of the cancer, and overall health. A person’s doctor is typically best equipped to determine their outlook.
Bone cancer can form on the face. If it does, it may cause pain and deformity. Bone cancer is a rare form of cancer, and its formation in the bones of the face or skull is even more rare.
Experts still do not know the exact cause of bone cancer, but they know of a few factors that increase a person’s risk of developing it.
Diagnosis often involves an examination, biopsy, and imaging studies. Treatment may be surgical or include chemotherapy and radiation.